All hail the quiet rabble rousers. A purposeful oxymoron, yes.
Christmas has become a cottage industry. Have you noticed? (And yes, that rhetorical question drips with sarcasm.)
A few of us have. Or so it seems, this year.
I am not feeling anti-Christmas or missing the magic. The birth of Jesus Christ, whether you believe he is the son of God or not, is worthy of awe.
So it is not Christmas per se that us rebels fight. It is the hoopla surrounding it.
This season, more than ever, I have no desire to step foot in a mall. To see people jostling and bickering over the last red sweater or frantically chasing this year’s It toy (I’m channeling fond memories of trying to track down the last remaining Hogwarts Lego castle many moons ago.).
We’ve lost the point. Not just missed it, but thrown it out the window, people.
Many years, I have been sick at Christmas. You know why? Because I have made myself so.
I have worked frantically for large corporations who did not care about the upcoming holiday, but did care about a deadline. And when I finally stopped to take a breath, it was December 24th. My tired body rebelled with a flu bug, thinking my momentary pause was me waving the white flag. Perhaps it was.
I’ve shopped until I dropped in order to put far too many presents, presents that then went neglected within a matter of weeks, under the tree.
I’ve baked ridiculous cookies from Bon Apetit recipes (before I was seasoned enough to know only women with too much time on their hands actually make anything from Bon Apetit).
In my house, an abode traditionally filled with Christmas music, gingerbread houses and stockings hung by the chimney with care, it all looked good. Most of it tasted good. I, however, was exhausted. I was “doing” Christmas by the book. But I wasn’t necessarily stopping to feel Christmas.
This year, there are fewer presents under the tree. This is both purposeful and cautionary as my contract work slows down. Funny. I feel happier about what is under that tree because I’ve placed far less importance on it. I feel lighter. It’s REALLY not about the stuff this year.
Lately, I’ve not wanted Johnny Mathis and Bing Crosby crooning to me 24/7 about jingle bells and silent nights. Instead, I’ve experienced some actual silent nights like the one I’m having now with my dog snuggled next to me and my youngest asleep next to her. The room dark save for the Christmas tree lights. I like nights like this one better than anything Bing can whisper in my ear.
This year, we will make (gasp) only two Christmas cookie varieties. And I’m betting my boys will savor them all the more. Bon Apetit recipes are not even allowed with a 100-foot radius of my kitchen this season.
I’m looking forward to Christmas Eve with a good friend and her lovely family. Christmas Day with my children, a hearty breakfast together and a day spent enjoying each other’s company. Some quiet time to reflect on all the spiritual bits of the season. How thankful I am for the good. How, despite any situations that might appear to induce fear or worry, I know only good lies before me. How to keep that certainty in my day to day life not only through this season, but into the upcoming year.
There is magic in this next week or two. The magic of love. Spirituality. A new year and the hope for new beginnings.
Christmas rebels, unite. That quiet magic is what we’re all about. It’s rabble rousing at its very best.
And lest you wonder if that quiet rabble rousing is worth anything, let me vouch for it. Three years ago, I was about three weeks from a finalized divorce. I was tired, metaphorically battered and bruised, in the middle of a lot of loss. But I was a Christmas rebel then, as attested to by the green flying pig that still graces my Christmas tree. “When pigs fly” took on a very literal meaning that holiday.
That was the year I was baptized by fire into the less is more club. The I Am Enough club. The What Really Matters club.
I’ve been a Christmas rebel ever since.